Sunday, 7 May 2017

Revenge of the Fallen Swerve

Back when I wrote about the original Deluxe RotF Sideswipe, very nearly eight full years ago and less than a year into this blog, I noted that the Corvette Stingray would look awesome in red, since that would have been a far more fitting colour for Sideswipe. It didn't take too long for Hasbro to release a red repaint, albeit as a difference character... Though, in a lot of ways, it looks more like a cheeky way of producing a more G1-referential version of movie Sideswipe considering Swerve had traditionally been a truck rather than a sports car...

Vehicle Mode:
Glad as I was to see a red Sideswipe 'clone', the typically-Hasbro choice of a flat, dull red was hugely disappointing. Even so, it does prove that the Stingray looks just as gorgeous in Sideswipe's usual colourscheme as he did in the movie character's silver. Most of this is actually bare red plastic as well, with only small sections of the wraparound windscreen, roof and rear sections being red paint over translucent blue plastic. Neither is especially glossy, nor is there any sparkly/metallic flake component to liven things up... So it's red... but only just.

In fact, vehicle mode technically uses the bare minimum of paintwork: the front grille, the Chevrolet flag logo, the rear numberplate - stamped with an Autobot insigina - and the silver hubcaps are as far as the paint budget extends beyond the requirement to cover the translucent plastic parts. As well as the translucent blue for the windows, he has colourless clear plastic for his headlights and orange tinted translucent plastic for his tail-lights  If only the they'd used a darker, richer red this could have been fantastic... as it stands, it's a fairly forgettable repaint in this mode, and definitely not the sort of car one would normally associate with Swerve, even taking into account the strange Alternators interpretation of the character, based on the Binaltech/Alternators Tracks mold.


Robot Mode:
For the most part, Swerve ends up fairly plain in robot mode as well. Much of the torso is unpainted red plastic, though he does have touches of black on his belly and groin, and the weird horns above his hips are picked out in gold paint. The limbs are mainly black and red, apart from the silver 'Mech Alive' kneepads and pale grey lower legs - the only use of that colour of plastic apart from structural pieces inside his 'wings'. Somewhat surprisingly, the Chevy logo in the central part of the chest is actually painted gold - all the more strange considering it wasn't painted on the original Deluxe Sideswipe.

The blade gimmick works just as well here as it does on the original, but it's yet another feature that doesn't suit the character. Then again, so many of the Autobots were portrayed as violent psychopaths, perhaps it's only fitting?

Aside from the colourscheme, the only significant difference between Swerve and the original release of Sideswipe is the wholly new head sculpt. What's curious is that it's in a colourscheme that seems more appropriate to Sideswipe than Swerve - the former would traditionally have a black head with a silver face, while the latter would tend to have a red head surrounded by white or grey, and a red, silver or white face. The crests of the forehead and the main part of the face actually remind me of G1 Bluestreak, but the overall head sculpt wouldn't look out of place on one of the Seekers - its basic shape isn't far off movie Starscream's weirdly collared look. The only thing I don't like about this new head - aside from the fact nothing about it really resembles any version of Swerve - is the massive, jutting chin... which is like something out of TransFormers Animated. As movie bot head sculpts go, it actually has a lot more character than the battlemasked sculpt used for Sideswipe - I'm just not sure it really suits an Autobot that transforms into a car...


Probably the most interesting thing to be said for this toy is that it was rereleased as part of the 2014 Platinum Edition boxed set which comprised Age of Extinction Leader class Optimus Prime, a chromed-out trailer... and a red Sideswipe. Aside from it getting an utterly gorgeous, super glossy 'toffee apple red' paintjob, with a few additional applications of black paint here and there on the robot mode, it was essentially Swerve... making me wonder if, perhaps, the head used on this figure might have been an early draft of movie Sideswipe's appearance, with the model used in the movies originally intended to be someone else - Tracks, maybe?

This wasn't the best movie mold to begin with - the Sidearm Sideswipe variant is an improvement - but the bizarre choice of character and the desaturated red plastic make this a curiosity at best, not worth any special effort to acquire... and, in retrospect, I'm not even sure why I bought it... Except perhaps to go alongside the G1-inspired repaint of the original movie Jazz...

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